Our readings today say things pretty directly. There are times when we think we've got it all together. We are comfortable, well entertained, enjoying good wine and food. We might say, "I'm at my best." So, when am I - when are you - at our best?
I find it's when I'm rested, well-fed and not stressed. Oh, dear, that sounds a lot like the fellows Amos wrote about. So, let me try a different question. 'What brings out the best in me?' (I encourage you to take a minute and jot down, speak, type and answer before reading on.)
Perhaps your list has things like, when I'm with my grandchild, when my weight is down a pound or I just got a sincere compliment.
My answer to what brings out the best in me is "coaching" - getting it and giving it. But, could it be that I have it all wrong? Might what brings out the best in me be uncertainty, struggle, problems, complications, delays? What if what we think 'ourselves at our best' really isn't? Could it even be 'our worst selves?'
Let's try that question from the other side: what brings out the worst in me? Perhaps that's easy to answer. Go ahead and take a minute to record your answer.
Your list could have some things that are on my list: lack of sleep, illogical thinking, sarcasm, ingratitude. Yet, more intriguing is the possibility that what I think brings out the worst in me is what could 'bring out the best.' That from suffering emerges character; from being defeated, Christ reveals a victory; from being in want and reluctantly sharing what little I have, God converts to abundance.
Former University professor and Dean, avid servant of Jesus